Five SUNY New Paltz faculty and alumni share $35,000 in prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts awards

NEW PALTZ–Five faculty and alumni from the State University of New York at New Paltz Art Department in the School of Fine & Performing Arts have secured prestigious and highly competitive Artist Fellowships (unrestricted cash grants of $7,000 each) from the latest cycle of the New York Foundation for the Arts awards.

Winners were faculty Professor Jamie Bennett, who is an alumnus of New Paltz’s metal program, Associate Professor Emily Puthoff, and Adjunct Professor Barb Smith, who also graduated with a master of fine arts in metal. Alumni award-winners were Jennifer Trask, 1997 graduate with a master of fine arts in metal and Shari Mendelson, a 1986 graduate with a master of fine arts in metal. This is Mendelson’s third Fellowship award.

Bennett said, “It is an exciting opportunity to receive this fellowship. It is my intention to buy equipment and materials for my studio. The award is for $7,000, which can help any artist out, whether in the beginning of their career or established. The New Paltz Art Department is a rigorous program. To the credit of the students who go through it, they are a determined group and committed to their creative work.”

“It is an incredible honor to have my work recognized by receiving a NYFA Fellowship. One of the most difficult things post graduation is finding time and space to make work. The impact this will have on my thinking and making is really immeasurable,” said Smith.

“The New Paltz Metal Program inspires confidence, criticality and a passion for both making and thinking. The environment is rigorous, reflective and intellectually challenging. As a graduate student, I found that the structure of the program cultivated an immense amount of personal and artistic growth. As an Adjunct Professor, I have the opportunity to work with faculty who nurture, challenge and teach with passion.”

A total of 105 Fellows were selected from a pool of 3,692 applicants in the categories of: Crafts/Sculpture; Digital/Electronic Work; Nonfiction Literature; Printmaking/Drawing/Book Arts, and Poetry.

Only 3 percent of the total number of applicants were successful. New Paltz faculty and alumni secured almost 5 percent of the overall fellowship awards.

“Whether you are an artist just launching your career as a young creative or someone whose practice has spanned many years, being recognized with a New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Fellowship is a formidable achievement,” Mary Hafeli, dean of New Paltz’s School of Fine & Performing Arts said.

“NYFA’s Artist Fellowship Program awards are highly competitive, involving a rigorous peer review process. That New Paltz has five faculty and alumni as NYFA fellows this year is a clear indication of the artistic excellence of our faculty, the incredibly good work they do with their students, and the ongoing success of our alumni.”

The Artist Fellowship Program, now in its 26th year, is administered by the New York Foundation for the Arts with Leadership Support from the New York State Council on the Arts. They have awarded $26 million to date. Among those who received support at critical stages in their careers are: 2011 Pulitzer Prize winners Jennifer Egan (Fiction) and Zhou Long (Music); Doug Aitken; Junot Diaz; Todd Haynes; Barbara Kruger; Spike Lee; Christian Marclay; Marilyn Minter; Lynn Nottage, and Julie Taymor.

For the full list of 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellows, please click here.